Books: Paperbacks

Hell For Leather

by Robert Winder,

Indigo, pounds 7.99


TO WHILE away the soggy days predicted for the Cricket World Cup later this month, treat yourself to this cracking account of England's inglorious performance in the last World Cup in 1996. Robert Winder's keen observation is seasoned with wry humour, as when the press corps finds a pile of hashish in a Pakistan airport. "Bloody hell," one says. "Good job Beefy [Botham] isn't here." Winder groans that our lads seem keener on golf than cricket. But back home, he soars after catching David Gower at a charity match and Phil Tufnell says: "Top drawer, Rob." "I could have died and gone to heaven."

All Points North

by Simon Armitage,

Penguin, pounds 6.99


TACKLING SIMILAR themes, a notch or two down the social scale, as Alan Bennett's Writing Home, this collection of the poet's prose off- cuts deserves equal success. Simon Armitage's downbeat humour is much in evidence, whether discovering that his insurance premium is higher as a poet than when he was working as a probation officer ("Nutters and all that," explains Direct Line) or noting a warning on whisky-flavoured condoms: "This product should not be used while driving." Too long to outline here, the Margaret Drabble joke on page 61 is the funniest thing you will hear from a poet this year.

Eyewitness to Discovery

edited by Brian M Fagan,

Oxford, pounds 14.99


"CAN YOU see anything?" "Yes, wonderful things," said Howard Carter, squinting at King Tut's treasure trove. The reverse of dry as dust, these 50 first-person accounts of archaeological finds are amazing. In Mexico, dazzling murals revealed that the Maya, far from being peaceful, inflicted gory torture on their prisoners. In 113BC, a Chinese emperor had a 2,700- piece jade suit constructed to save his body from corruption, but all that remained of him in 1968 were a few teeth. The serene expression on the face of an Iron Age body, preserved in a Danish bog, proved to be illusory. There was a garotte around his neck.

Kilvert's Diary

edited by William Plomer,

Pimlico, pounds 10


LIVING IN the idyllic Welsh borders in the 1870s, the Reverend Francis Kilvert wrote wonderfully about the natural world, but he applied the same acuity to human foibles. He did not spare himself, as in his red-faced account of knocking on the wrong door in a hotel and running away. Gnawed by sexual longings ("Her little foot peeped out. I thought it was the prettiest foot I ever saw"), his efforts to find a bride were continually rebuffed. This may account for his Lewis Carroll- like penchant for young girls. His diary is lent an underlying melancholy by our knowledge that he finally married at 38, only to die a month later.

No More Mr Nice Guy

by Howard Jacobson,

Vintage, pounds 6.99


FRANK RITZ (award-winning television critic) and his wife (writer of erotica for the Woman's Hour woman) live together in modem-connected splendour in leafy Dulwich Village. When relations irretrievably break down, Frank kick-starts his new life with a grand tour of his sexual past. Beginning in Oxford (memories of a Finnish language student), he proceeds to Cheltenham in search of a woman and a hairbrush. Not as dark a writer as Philip Roth, Jacobson and his menopausal males see the joke too soon and too often. An entertaining and intermittently risque novel that has something to say to both sexes about what really goes on in bed.

Two Moons

by Jennifer Johnston,

Review, pounds 6.99


FOR ANY other writer, Jennifer Johnston's subject matter - angels, illicit love and midnight swims - might be a dangerous combination, but in Johnston's capable hands the overall effect is simply poetic. A rose- covered house overlooking Dublin Bay is home to Grace (a still beautiful Shakespearean actress) and Mimi, her elderly mother. But following an unexpected visit by Grace's daughter, Polly, and her striking new actor boyfriend, life in the house is never quite the same. In goes the aromatic chicken, out come the stars, and several invitations to indiscretion. All the makings of the luvviest of screen-plays.

Model Behaviour

by Jay McInerney,

Bloomsbury, pounds 6.99


JAY McINERNEY has written a string of respectable novels since his glittering debut Bright Lights, Big City, but has never quite main- lined the zeitgeist in the same sensational way. His latest novel, a satire set among the silicon-enhanced models and magazine editors of New York's glamour industry, revisits some of the haunts and themes of Bright Lights... , and features another appealingly edgy hero - a man who is about to lose both his job and his would-be actress girlfriend. One of America's most stylish stylists, McInerney still revels in the city where Narcissus is king, and Anna Wintour and Al Pacino get all the best tables.

Mr MacGregor

by Alan Titchmarsh,

Pocket Books, pounds 5.99


IT'S WOMEN, not blue-coated rabbits, that are driving this particular Mr MacGregor to distraction. A Yorkshire lad plucked from the gardening column of the Nesfield Gazette, Rob MacGregor's "drop- dead gorgeous" looks have earned him a place in the cheesier corridors of lifestyle TV - much like his creator, gardening legend Alan Titchmarsh. In this story of showbiz glamour, and sex among the gro-bags, the most dangerous snake in the garden turns out to belong to Rob (in a scene shortlisted for last year's Literary Review Bad Sex Award). Time for Mr MacGregor to get back to his radishes and the bosom of his girl.

Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce, Boris Johnson, Putin, Nigel Farage, Russell Brand and Andy Murray all get the Spitting Image treatment from Newzoids
tvReview: The sketches need to be very short and very sharp as puppets are not intrinsically funny
Arts and Entertainment
Despite the controversy it caused, Mile Cyrus' 'Wrecking Ball' video won multiple awards
musicPoll reveals over 70% of the British public believe sexually explicit music videos should get ratings
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister and Ian Beattie as Meryn Trant in the fifth season of Game of Thrones

Arts and Entertainment

book review
Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Far Right and Proud: Reggies Yates' Extreme Russia

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West was mobbed in Armenia after jumping into a lake

Arts and Entertainment
The show suffers from its own appeal, being so good as to create an appetite in its viewers that is difficult to sate in a ten episode series

Game of Thrones reviewFirst look at season five contains some spoilers
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench and Kevin Spacey on the Red Carpet for 2015's Olivier Awards

Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awards

Arts and Entertainment
Proving his metal: Ross Poldark (played by Aidan Turner in the BBC series) epitomises the risk-taking spirit of 18th-century mine owners

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne is reportedly favourite to play Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars in dystopian action thriller Mad Max: Fury Road

Arts and Entertainment
Josh, 22, made his first million from the game MinoMonsters

Grace Dent

Channel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
Disgraced Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson
Arts and Entertainment
Game face: Zoë Kravitz, Bruce Greenwood and Ethan Hawke in ‘Good Kill’

film review

Arts and Entertainment
Living like there’s no tomorrow: Jon Hamm as Don Draper in the final season of ‘Mad Men’

TV review

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
    Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

    UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

    Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
    John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

    ‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

    Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
    Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

    Let the propaganda wars begin - again

    'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

    Japan's incredible long-distance runners

    Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
    Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

    Tom Drury: The quiet American

    His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
    Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

    Beige to the future

    Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

    Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

    More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
    Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

    Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

    The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own